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RICHMOND, October 29, 1861. General JOSEPH E. JOHNSTON, Centreville :
Just received a dispatch from General Huger informing me that thirtysix steamers and one transport steamer have gone to sea this morning and two went yesterday. This, I think, removes all probability of an attack on the Lower Potomac or the Rappahannock.
J. P. BENJAMIN, Acting Secretary of War.
RICHMOND, October 29, 1861. General JOSEPH E. JOHNSTON, Centreville, Va.:
MY DEAR SIR: I have just seen General Wigfall, and find from my conversation with him that you cannot have understood my note in relation to Captain Montgomery. I had no funds in the appropriations from which I could pay for recruiting, and not knowing what to do with bim, left bim subject to your orders, but with no idea of interfering in any way with any arrangement you might make for the command of the battery. I merely suggested (not knowing that there was any charge against him) that it might be well to let him learn how to manage his battery under the command of the officer you had chosen, but even this was a mere suggestion, to be adopted or not at your discretion. Wig. fall says that the men won't obey Montgomery, and that he is not fit to command, but that you wish to avoid a court-inartial, as they are ineffective and troublesome machines with volunteers. This may all be very true, but what are we to do? I know of no other means of getting rid of an incompetent or unworthy officer. The President has no power to dismiss him. I leave the whole matter to you to do the best you can, and have written these few lines only to remove the impression that I desired at all to interfere with the command of the battery, as ordered by you.
I have explained to Wigfall that the two Texas regiments remaining here have been detained solely to aid in repulsing the enemy in the event of his landiug on the Peninsula or on the coast of North Carolina, in the rear of our defenses at Norfolk. By Thursday evening we shall know positively whether they have gone farther south thau Hatteras, in which event I will send you up the two regiments immediately. I will also, I hope, have two or three Georgia regiments here about the same time to receive the arms you have on hand.
I have told General Cooper to let you retain General Jackson during the present emergency, but as soon as the battle is fought, or all chance of conflict is at an end, I am anxious to get him into the Valley District, where he enjoys the fullest confidence of the people, and where we hope with his aid to organize a very respectable force. Yours, &c.,
J. P. BENJAMIN.
RICHMOND, October 29, 1861. Col. ANGUS W. McDONALD, Winchester, Va.:
COLONEL: I am desired to inform yon, in answer to your communication of the 20th instant, that Maj. Gen. T. J. Jackson has been ordered to the command of the Valley District, extending from the Blue Ridge to the Alleghany Mountains, with full powers to act in all
matters relating to the defense of that district and the military operations therein. General Jackson, as chief in command of the district, will also regulate and direct the subject of winter quarters, to which you refer. Very respectfully, &c.,
RH. CHILTON, Assistant Adjutant-General.
RICHMOND, October 29, 1861. Col. GEORGE E. PICKETT,
Commanding, &c., Fort Lowry: COLONEL: Yours of the 28th instant, by special messenger, was duly received this morning, and submitted to the Secretary of War, who greatly regrets his inability to send you re-enforcements.*
He has, however, directed a supply of percussion arms and ammunition to be forwarded to you with the least practicable delay. It is impossible to furnish you with the rifled cannon mentioned in your communication. Very respectfully, &c.,
S. COOPER, Adjutant and Inspector General.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF KANAWHA,
Camp Dickerson, October 29, 1861. Hon. SECRETARY OF WAR:
SIR: I have the honor to request that you will furnish me as speedily as possible two 12 pounder rifled guns and two 24-pounder rifled how. itzers. In my present position I feel very seriously the want of heavy artillery, and am quite satisfied that if I had it I could bring the campaign to a successful close. I hold the left bank of New River and am in command of all its ferries. From the river bluffs are plainly seen the several encampments of the enemy at and in the vicinity of the Hawk's Nest. Some of these positions can be reached, from which with such guns as I ask for the enemy could not only be dislodged from his positions, but the navigation of the Kanawha cut off and its ferries commanded. Could this be effected one of two alternatives is left him-either to fight me in my own positions or to retreat out of the valley through the northwest. With 6-pounder guns such as I have I cannot engage with certainty of success the pieces of the enemy, superior in number, range, caliber, and metal. Any position which can gain, and from which the enemy's can be reached, can be brought within range of his guns. With guns of power equal to or approximat. ing that of his I would attack him with a strong conviction of success.
I earnestly but respectfully call your attention to the matter, with the request that you will inform me at once whether the guns can be furnished. I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN B. FLOYD, Commanding Army of Kanárha.
* Not found.
BROOKE'S STATION, October 29, 1861. Hon. J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War:
An intelligent soldier sent from Evansport across the river reports 15,000 of the enemy there, with eighty pieces of field artillery, to prevent us from crossing, and the batteries are to be attacked as soon as their vessels can be prepared. He heard nothing of the expedition from below, mentioned by Van Camp. He crossed back this morning at Mathias Point.
TH. H. HOLMES,
CENTREVILLE, October 29, 1861. Hon. J. P. BENJAMIN:
MY DEAR SIR: Your note of the 27th instant has been received, with its inclosure. The note in cipher was addressed to me—that is, to Thomas John Rayford, a name I adopted before leaving Washington, for purposes of cipher correspondence with Mrs. Greenhow, by whom the note probably was written. As you will perceive from the translation inclosed, the subject matter is unimportant. I say Mrs. G. probably wrote the note, but it is quite possible she did not, and that it is a shallow device of the enemy to entice into a correspondence which shall fall into their hands. This is the best light to view it, as a correspond. ence with her or further use of that cipher is useless. This cipher I arranged last April. Being my first attempt, and hastily derised, it may be deciphered by any expert, as I found after use of it for a time. I accordingly would have discarded it long since had Mrs. G. escaped detection, and had, indeed, arranged a cipher to send her just as she was arrested. The War Department at Washington came into possession of one of her letters in this cipher, and by its aid ought to have worked out the key. That does not matter, as of course I used it with but the lady, and with her it has served our purpose, including the one great service of saving General Bonham from a disastrous surprise on the 17th of July. I hear from another source that a reward is offered for the key. I am inclined to furnish it through a person in Washington, and let the friend get the consideration, for, I repeat, the possession of the key can do them no possible good now, nor can it prejudice any one. My suspicion has been excited by the way the value of the key is dwelt upon in this note and the desire to get at it on part of enemy, for I can. not doubt that an expert could unravel it.
I know not who wrote the letter signed A. M. H. The place of attack he indicates is one that Dr. Van Camp has just come here to inform us has actually been determined on as the place of descent by the Annapolis armada. Callan, clerk of Senate Military Committee, is informant. It is doubted here, liowever, but the army has been put in order for such an exigency.
Last night I telegraphed information sent me that Cape Fear River, Smithville, &c., were the real points of attack. This came from one (Washington, 24th instant) with capacity and wit to make a most efficient emissary. Circumstances have placed her en rapport with me lately, and I expect a good deal of timely, acute observation of useful character from her, but as I cannot be altogether certain of her faith, all will be received with caution, and nothing communicated to her, as was my course, I may also say, with Mrs. G. The person in question communicates the name of an alien just from Portsmouth, Va., oue E. B. Lookins, who is said to have given so much information deemed of value, that he has already been commissioned. This man had drawings of batteries in the Peninsula. He, she says, has a brother-in-law, by name of Ford, now in the works at Sewell's Point, from whom he learned a signal in use by us when our vessels are to run the blockade of York River. If there is such a signal it has been communicated, be assured. Generals Johnston and Beauregard think the matter ought to be exainined into.
You rightly say the events of the last six months seem all a dream. The most dreamlike thing in the world's history is the presence here in Fairfax County, in the month of October, 1861,
twelve months from the time you were in San Francisco, of two hostile armies, of formidable size, such as now confront each other.
Be assured I shall be pleased to be of the least personal service to you in this quarter. Yours, truly,
BALTIMORE, October 29, 1861. Hon. J. P. BENJAMIN:
HONORED SIR: The gentleman who will hand you this I have forwarded by our Government route, as he comes on very important business with the Navy Department. He will also give you the Northern papers sent by him up to this day. I have made arrangements to forward them every Wednesday and Saturday. The gentleman who negotiated the purchase of the bonds has been arrested. I will, I think, be able to sell them to other parties, and accomplish our object. Anything that I can do for you here let me know immediately. Any com. munication directed to Mr. Hermange, Sun office, Baltimore, sent to the river by courier, will reach me safely. Direct inside to me. This is a better arrangement than the one mentioned in my former letter. General Dix has announced his intention of hanging me as a spy if he can find me. That for his intentions.
With every wish for the success of our devoted cause, I remain, very respectfully, yours,
H. A. STEWART.
P. S.—The confusion in Washington is greater than after the battle of Bull Run. An officer of rank says he believes if a decided attack were made on Washington they would capitulate.
HEADQUARTERS FIRST CORPS, ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
Centreville, Va., October 30, 1861. Brig. Gen. N. G. EVANS, Commanding at Leesburg, Va.:
GENERAL: I send you herewith the copy of letter from General Stu. art, giving the positions and probable intentions of the enemy for your information and guidance.* General Johnston says:
It indicates, as far as can be relied on, a movement of Banks eastwardly. Cannot General Evans ascertain the fact! And if the movement has been positively made, then let him join us; that is, by placing himself within striking (distance] of us, to counteract the effect of Banks joining McClellan.
* Not found. 59 R R-VOL V
Hence you must endeavor to ascertain what the enemy is about on the other side of the Potomac, and should Banks have moved as above stated, you will act as directed by General Johnston, taking up a new position, either to hold in check the enemy's forces you may have in front or to join us at a moment's notice. I suppose in rear of Ball's and Carter's Mills, on Goose Creek, would be the best ones; then Gum Spring or Sudler Spring and Church, according to circumstances and the movements of the enemy.
It would be well for you to dispose of all the heavy baggage of your troops, which can be sent to Manassas in wagons pressed into service for that special object, with a guard of three men from each company and a proper number of non-commissioned and commissioned officers.
You must see to the constant proper supply of provisions, &c., for your whole command, keeping the latter always prepared to more at a moment's notice, without, however, harassing or alarming the officers and men, who must understand that those precautions are necessary for our future strategic operations. Respectfully, your obedient servant,
G. T. BEAUREGARD,
RICHMOND, October 31, 1861. Maj. Gen. EARL VAN DORN, Army of the Potomac :
SIR: In the reorganization of the Army of the Potomac your command of the First Division was intended by the President to be com: posed of all the cavalry, two brigades of Mississippians, and Hampton's Legion. The infantry was attached to the cavalry, because we bad not enough cavalry to form for you a division. General Johnston, the commander of the Department of Northern Virginia, has suggested some objections to this disposal of the cavalry which seem to us well founded, and bas proposed that additional brigades of infantry be assigned to your division, leaving the cavalry under his immediate separate cominand. Before, however, making any change the President will receive your views on the matter and consider them. The objections made by General Johnston, and to which the President is disposed to attach great weight, are:
That all the cavalry of the army is now employed on ontpost duty. The officer at the head of that service (Brigadier-General Stuart) should be under the immediate orders of the commander of the army, and make his reports to and receive his instructions from him. In like manner, in battle, the commanding general must keep under his own control the largest portion of the cavalry, so that General Van Dorn's division would actually become the weakest in the army, although he is the senior major-general, with high reputation.
In addition to this is the consideration that your rank would entitle you to the right wing, and in any battle that may occur in the neighborhood of the present position of the army the ground to the right is unfavorable for cavalry, which would of necessity be thrown to the center or to the left, thus separating you from either the cavalry or the infantry of your division during actual conflict. The President is therefore inclined to increase your division, by the assignment of other infantry brigades, to its due strength in proportion to your rank, and to leave the cavalry as a separate coipmand. Be good enough to answer me as promptly as possible. Your obedient servant,
J. P. BENJAMIN, Acting Secretary of War.